The following letter was sent to state Rep. Kevin Petersen, R-Waupaca, by a coalition of groups involved in health care issues.
As strong supporters of Assembly Bill 151 (Senate Bill 101) we write to respectfully ask that as chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee you schedule a public hearing on this important legislation. AB 151 will help ensure access to life-saving chemotherapy for cancer patients in Wisconsin, regardless of whether those treatments are dispensed orally or intravenously.
This bill enjoys broad support from Wisconsin patients and medical providers and has strong bi-partisan backing in both the Assembly and Senate. As similar legislation has now been signed in to law in 14 states and the District of Columbia, we question why this bill has not even received a public hearing in Wisconsin. Certainly, patients here deserve the same opportunity to access oral chemotherapy treatment, and the same opportunity to be heard.
While insurance providers in Wisconsin say this new law may cause an increase in health care premiums, there is no evidence of related increases in the states that have enacted similar laws. Indeed, we would not expect there to be an increase as the cost difference between oral and infused/IV chemotherapy drugs is comparable. Moreover, when the administrative costs associated with infused/IV chemotherapy are factored in (facility fees, nurse time, other drugs and supplies), the total costs associated with the oral chemotherapy pill taken at home, can actually be less expensive.
We would like the opportunity to explain the merits of this important bill at a future public hearing. Thank you for your consideration. For many cancer patients, the most effective – and often only – treatment comes in oral form. It is on their behalf that we urge action on this very important legislation.
Coalitions signing the letter: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society, International Myeloma Foundation, American Lung Association, BioForward, Medical College of Wisconsin, Columbia St-Mary’s Hospital, Marshfield Clinic, Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, Cambridge Major Labs, Wisconsin Cancer Council, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin